Gaborone — The Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) has given former President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama an award for his anti-alcohol abuse crusade.
Soon after assuming state power in 2008, Lt Gen. Dr Khama introduced an alcohol levy and reduced operating hours for liquor outlets in a bid to combat alcohol abuse.
Government further introduced new regulations on the sale of Chibuku and homebrews from homesteads.
SAAPA, which is a network of seven southern African countries with the aim of harmonising and accelerating alcohol policy development in the region, presented Lt Gen. Dr Khama with the award on Monday.
SAAPA chairperson Mr Phillip Chimponda said his organisation initially wanted to hand the award four years ago but was unable because of Lt. Gen. Dr Khama's busy schedule.
"Since 2014, GAPA (Global Alcohol Policy Alliance) and SAAPA recognised your political will, leadership and commitment in addressing issues of alcohol in Botswana, when your government introduced an alcohol levy. Your exemplary leadership at regional level inspired and motivated other heads of state within the region to demonstrate political will, leadership and commitment in addressing issues of alcohol at national levels," said Mr Chimponda.
The SAAPA chairperson asked Lt Gen. Dr Khama to continue supporting national alcoholic policy engagements and prevention initiatives.
He also requested the former president to lobby government so that the Alcohol Levy Fund continued to fund promotion and prevention of alcohol activities and alternative initiatives such as sports and training of civil society in policy evidence-based implementation.
He further called on Lt Gen. Dr Khama to support SAAPA's call for SADC to consider including alcohol as an agenda at regional level.
Lt Gen. Dr Khama said it was encouraging to have people and organisations recognised his efforts. He said he would continue advocating for responsible alcohol consumption.